"It still hurts… to look at you."

Author: Lady(dragon) Guinevere
Pairing: Jordan/Angela
Disclaimer: Based upon characters by Winnie Holzman

Rated M: for some steamy physical interactions, so beware!

Summary: It's 2005; ten years after Jordan Catalano has moved to LA. At the annual reunion of Angela Chase and her friends at a festival in her hometown, she discovers that it still hurts to look at him…

A/N: If you haven't read the follow-up to 'My So-Called Life' written by *me* ('Afterlife'), this story may be a bit confusing. But since I'm tying up some loose ends during the story, I'd love it if you gave it a try anyway!


"It still hurts…to look at you"

Angela VO: "Ever since I finished High School, we have this silent agreement to meet up with each other at the annual Blues Festival over in Pittsburgh. Of course, we al have internet, email and our cell phones to stay in touch, but at least once a year we clear our busy schedules to catch up in real life. I can't believe another year has passed and it's July already."

Enjoying the warmth of the sun on her skin, Angela walked over the luscious, green fields of Hartwood Acres. Her airy summer dress rippled after her in the soft, cooling breeze. Revealing her slender neck; her long blond, hair was pinned up with some hairpins. Walking up to their usual meeting point, Angela greeted some familiar faces on the way over.

Dressed in a short denim skirt, exposing her long, slim legs; Sharon was clutching her purse while looking around for someone recognizable. At the sight of Angela approaching her, a big smile lit up her face. "Chase Face!" Dashing over to greet her, she stretched out her arms to embrace her old friend.

Angela VO: "After almost becoming a teenage-mother, Sharon focused on her education instead. Realising what could have happened to her made her pursue a serious vocation path. She's a driven, career-obsessed young woman; with no time for a serious relationship. She's in charge of some major bank with establishments all over the world."

"Sharon Cherski! Look at you!" Angela's eyes glad over her friend's perfect long, locks. The copper-shade framing her face really became her. Hugging her friend, old memories came drifting to the surface.

"Oh, it's so good to see you again!" Just when Sharon was about to ask Angela what was new; Brian Krakow came walking up to them, grinning broadly.

Angela VO: "Of course, Brian Krakow has made all expectations regarding him, come true. With computers becoming a huge part of modern day society, Brian made a career out of being a whiz kid. His name is mentioned in the same breath with persons like Bill Gates, having designed some of the most-used computer programs of today. But despite the many millions in his bank account, he's still the same insecure boy on the inside. Though I have to say he cleaned up nicely; you could actually call him a handsome guy I guess."

"And so the whole neighbourhood is together again." Dressed in a pair of jeans and a light blue polo-shirt, Brian kissed Angela and Sharon on their cheeks. The wild curly hairdo he used to own in high school; had been reduced into a fresh, short haircut.

"Brian Krakow, what an honour to have you in our midst!" Smirking at him, Angela recalled the boy he used to be. His people-skills improved, fortunately.

Angela VO: "Despite Brian's efforts, nothing ever happened between the two of us. Actually, all through high school *nothing* took place regarding my love-life. I guess I didn't *let* it happen somehow, since I still wasn't over Jordan Catalano."

"Always a pleasure, Ms Chase." Displaying a charming smile, Brian whisked Sharon and Angela away to a picnic table a little further ahead.

The three of them sat down and engaged in a lively conversation, when Rickie Vasquez appeared out of nowhere. "Good day, ladies and gent!"

"Rickie!" Angela scrambled to her feet and flew into Rickie's arms.

"So, you missed me, huh?" Smiling, Rickie eyed Angela. Still dressing up-to-date with a personal touch, he escorted Angela back to the table where Sharon and Brian greeted him with enthusiasm.

Angela VO: "Rickie's still the boy with a heart of gold. For a while, Rayanne Graff tried to convince him to go to art school with her, but he chose to become a social worker instead. His heart is with helping people, and he's extremely good at it. He's patient and there's almost nothing he didn't experience himself, so. Corey and him hooked up in high school and they've been happily ever since. I wonder what their secret is."

While a band played in the background, the group caught up with each other. When Angela offered to get them drinks, Sharon tagged along with her. The sun still warming her; a feeling of bliss took over Angela's being.

"So, how's the business going?" Sharon handed the man at the bar a few tokens to pay for their order.

Angela VO: "I still don't know *how* it happened, but I've taken over my mom's business. God, I never thought I would end up running a printing shop, let alone the family printing shop, but I did. Since I didn't want to end up stuck in the place where I've lived my entire life -only to wake up one day and regret the path I chose- I am expanding our business. I'm branching out nationally."

"Good, I guess. I've been extremely busy lately. Expanding the business takes up a great deal of my time nowadays. Me and my big ideas… God, why did I ever get into this?"

"I guess it's the Power of Patty." Sharon giggled.

"The Power of Patty, ugh, don't remind me. That woman…"

"Yeah, well. How's your dad doing then?"

"Oh, the restaurant is still up and running, and he's still happy cooking, so. It was the best decision he ever made, I'll tell you that. How are your parents doing?"

"Oh, fine, fine. It gave my mom quite a scare when my dad suffered another heart attack, but he's doing fine again. But he's really trying to turn his life around now."

"God, I'm so glad he's okay again, Shar. I thought this was gonna be it, you know?"

"You and me both; but thankfully he made it through, again."

"Yeah, thankfully…"

They fell silent for a moment until Sharon broke the stillness. "Oh, and how are the twins doing?"

"Oh, they're fine, but I think they're driving my uncle Neill *mad*. Those two girls inherited Hallie's liveliness and eloquence, so the poor guy escapes the house whenever he can."

Angela VO: "My uncle Neill and Hallie got married about eight years ago. Two years after their wedding, Hallie gave birth to twin girls. They're so cute it's actually scary, and they talk your ears off."

"So, if you don't mind my asking…How are things with you and Matthew now?"

"I um, I told him I needed some time to straighten things out. I'm not sure my life is headed the way I want it to. If feels like I'm back in high school once again, wondering who I am. I'm not sure I've become who I want to be and need to be sure of myself before I can commit to him, I guess."

Angela VO: "I met Matthew in college and we've been together ever since. He's like the opposite of Jordan Catalano; he's the light of the party but at the same time he's very serious about his job. Ironically his job is working under my supervision; in the printing shop. He's steady and reliable and he's asked me to marry him a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure I want to settle down yet, and I'm not sure about him either. It's like something's missing; the sparks I had with Jordan never happened with Matthew and me."

"I see… Tough call, Angela. So, you're on a break now, or something?"

"Yeah, I guess so." Angela got hold off two plastic cups.

"So, what's Catalano been up to lately?" Getting hold of the other two cups, Sharon walked away from the bar besides Angela.

"Don't know, actually; I hardly had time to surf the internet, you know?"

Angela VO: "Ever since the invention of internet, it's become easier to keep track of people. People like Jordan Catalano for example. I still have a soft spot for him, and Sharon knows it, I guess. I've Googled him and found out he's playing in a band called 'Spontaneous Combustion'. By the looks of it they're quite good; they're playing many gigs throughout America."

Arriving at the table, they handed the guys their beers and picked up where they left off. Big stories and laughter filled the air. Despite their different lives, they managed to stick together. Their annual appointment was like a reminder of their roots; a chance to reconnect with their past. After some time, the conversation came to an inevitable subject; Rayanne Graff.

"You know, this is like the second year without Rayanne already; can you believe it?" Angela rested her chin on her hand.

"I still can't. It's weird, you know? Maybe in some ways I always knew she was living on the edge, ready to fall off anytime, but still." Rickie's eyes lost their focus.

For a while they sat together muted; each person having their own thoughts on Rayanne.

Angela VO: "Rayanne Graff died of AIDS, almost two years ago. The way she was living her life, it made sense, I guess. She went in and out of rehab since that first attempt, only to fall back into her drinking habit shortly after returning sobered up. The fling she had with Brian actually lasted for a little while, until they both became fed up with the unsatisfying nature of it all, I guess. Rayanne got back to screwing nameless faces and apparently, not always safe. I think the alcohol blurred her vision or something. Our friendship hadn't been the same since she had sex with Jordan Catalano; and seeing her mess up her life consistently made me keep my distance from her. It's like they say I guess, 'Live fast, die young.'"


Feeling woozy from the wine, Angela kicked off her shoes and got up for a walk around the grounds. Walking past the tents where the diverse bands played, she came to a halt when her eye fell onto a flyer announcing the performing band names. In less then an hour, a band called 'Spontaneous Combustion' would be performing. Not sure the wine was messing with her head; she read the band name again. What would the odds be there was another band with the same name as Jordan Catalano's band?

Angela VO: "God, if only I had had time to keep up with Jordan's schedule, I would have known he would have been here today. I'm not prepared to see him yet, what am I gonna say to him?"

Eager to share her possible encounter with Jordan Catalano, Angela hurried back to her friends' table. "You guys, you won't believe who's performing here today."

"Metallica?" Rickie asked, resting his head on his hand.

"Ha ha, no… nothing like that." Angela looked around the table like she was about to let her friends in on a devious conspiracy. "Jordan Catalano's band is; in less than an hour."

"Don't tell me you're *still* not over him, Angela? It's been like, ten years!" Brian shook his head with disbelief.

A blush crept up Angela's cheeks when she hastened to defend herself. "Sure I'm over him; it's just, you know… I didn't expect to see him, that's all."

"Let him talk, Angela. You wanna go and watch him?" Sharon squeezed Angela's arm, receiving a thankful smile in return.

"Hey, I'll tag along. I for one can't wait to see what's become of Jordan Catalano and his music! I wonder if he's still such a hottie." Rickie gave Angela a mischievous smile.

"Rickie!" Angela slapped him on his wrist.

"What? You're thinking it; I'm saying it, what's the difference?"

Feeling like a teenager again, Angela giggled with nerves.

"So, I guess we're off to see good old Jordan Catalano perform then." Moping, Brian crossed his arms in front of his chest and eyed his friends. "What are you, his fan club?"

"Yeah, Brian, we all know you've been badly traumatized by him in the past. Well, get over it! People change and times change, you know?" Sharon's face seemed to scream out the word she wanted to hold inside. 'Loser!'

"Hey, lighten up! You made it, man! You're business-man of the year, and who knows what happened to Jordan Catalano? Maybe he turned into this perpetual drunk, you know? Like, this fat-assed, bald-headed has-been, or something like that." Rickie stomped Brian's arm.

"Ouch!" Flinching, Brian pulled away his arm and rubbed the sore spot.


Walking up the improvised wooden stage, Jordan Catalano was dressed in a pair of tight, dark jeans. His brown hair hung almost onto his shoulders. Through his skin-tight, red T-shirt; his slender appearance could be made out clearly. Starting off with a slow song, Jordan sat down on a stool. Closing his eyes, he began to play his guitar. The years had certainly improved his singing skills and matured his voice into a more dark and husky sounding one.

Angela VO: "It's like time stood still, regarding my feeling towards Jordan Catalano, and I get sucked into this time portal, right back into high school. Things around me become like this blur, I turn sixteen again and all I can see and hear is Jordan Catalano. It still hurts to look at him, you know?

"Just check out that body… What can I say about his heavenly shape? It looks so touchable and delicious; my knees are starting to quiver. I wanna fall at his feet and surrender myself to his mercy."

Allowing her eyes to wander a little further over the stage, Angela thought she recognized Shane playing the drums. Jordan huddled up to the mic and squeezed it almost lovingly with both his hands. His body slithered to the increasingly rougher sounding music like a snake, while his eyes remained shut for most the time. The sensuality of his moves did not go unnoticed.

"So much for a fat-assed, bald-headed perpetual drunk I guess." Brian eyed Jordan like someone had just taken away his Popsicle.

"So, I was a little off. It happens." Rickie shrugged.

Not detaching her eyes from Jordan for even a split second, Sharon leaned into Angela and whispered in her ear. "So, how are you feeling right now?"

"Like I'm sixteen again…" Angela kept eyeing Jordan dreamily.

"That's bad, Angela. Don't do anything stupid, you know?"

"Define stupid…"

Angela VO: "Don't do anything stupid? Would it be stupid if I dragged him off the stage and pinned him to the floor somewhere, ripping off his clothes to ride him like a water-deprived cowboy in the desert?"

"You know what I mean, don't you? Think about Matthew!"

"God, is it hot in here, or is it me?" Angela waved her hands near her face to cool off.


After 'Spontaneous Combustion's' gig, Jordan Catalano walked off the stage to the side of the tent. Hiding behind her sunglasses, Angela watched every move he made.

"Guys, I um… I'm gonna go over to Jordan, you know, to um… talk to him. Catch you later, okay?" Biting her lower lip, Angela barely took her eyes of Jordan when addressing her friends.

"God, Angela…he looks good, doesn't he?" Rickie wrapped his arm around Angela's neck and followed the direction of her stare.

"Ooh, I know…" Angela's flustered cheeks resembled those of a kid in a candy shop.

"Are you sure you don't want me to come along?" Even if Angela was hiding behind her shades, Sharon knew instinctively she was gazing at Jordan.

"No, I'll be fine, don't worry. Later, okay?"

"Okay, but remember what I told you, Angela. Don't do anything *stupid*."

"Yes mom, I'll stay out of trouble, promise."

"What *is* it about Jordan Catalano? All I see is a poor musician with no steady income, no future and probably a huge fear of commitment. Basically, he hasn't changed at all since high school." Like Brian was watching a game tennis, his eyes went from Angela to Jordan and back again, several times.

"Well, I guess that makes two of you then. I see you're still jealous of Jordan when it comes to Angela, so." Flipping her hair back, Sharon paced away from Brian.

"And Sharon's behaviour makes three…" Rickie smirked as he turned to Brian.


From a distance, Angela eyed the scene unfolding before her eyes. A couple of young scarcely dressed women darted up to Jordan Catalano; his arms swung around them while they talked and jealousy struck Angela like lightning. Gently pushing the girls away after a while, Jordan slapped them on their butts. Using a towel, he wiped the sweat from his forehead. Tossing the towel aside, his hands got hold of the hem of his T-shirt.

Taking off his shirt, Jordan Catalano revealed his well-built upper body. The years -as well as strenuous training by the looks of it- had shaped his firm body into a more masculine form. Pouring the entire contents from a water bottle onto his head, the sizzling of the cold drops on his hot body was practically audible. The long, dark locks of hair framing his face clung together in luscious looking streamers before he separated them by shaking his head vigorously, much resembling a dog that just came out of the water.

Trickling down his body, the droplets provided his chest with a sleek, almost oiled look. Riding low on his hips, his jeans bestowed the little brooks of water with the opportunity to come to a halt just over his waistband, where they nestled in those two little dips just above his tight butt. Tilting his head back while his tongue flicked over his lips, Jordan's hands raked through his wet locks. Pulling and straining his muscles, his hands travelled over his trunk to wipe off some of the lukewarm water.

Angela VO: "It's a good thing I'm *not* an impressionable teenager anymore, or this would have been like, really awkward to look at."

When Jordan turned his back on Angela, she noticed part of his back and shoulder blades were decorated with a tattoo. Seemingly emerging from his back; two white angel wings appeared to have been part of him forever. The fact they seemed to be caught on fire took away any insecurity about their sweet and innocent nature. Curious about the meaning of his tattoo, Angela was mesmerized by it for a moment.

Angela VO: "Two beautiful but flaming angel wings originate from Jordan Catalano's back. They remind me of the necklace Krakow gave me for my sixteenth birthday. God, would Jordan's tattoo have anything to do with me, or am I reading too much into it? I've gotta snap out of it, before I humiliate myself. Jordan Catalano hasn't made any effort to see me during the past decade, so it's not *logical* he's got a tattoo like that because of me. Right?"

Still hiding behind her sunglasses; Angela stalked up to Jordan, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Jordan Catalano..."

"Hey babe, enjoy the show?" Jordan wrapped a moist arm around Angela's neck.

Angela VO: "Oh God, he doesn't recognize me, this is embarrassing! He obviously thinks I'm one of his groupies or something."

"Jordan, it's me." Slowly lowering her sunglasses; Angela's eyes met Jordan's.

Rubbing his eyes; confusion settled over Jordan's features for a moment, quickly being replaced by recognition. He flicked his tongue over his lips and fixated his eyes onto hers. "Angela? Angela Chase?"

"Well, actually… it's Krakow now." Angela smirked at him.

"What? You mean; you and Brain…?"

"No, no, I'm kidding. Got you, didn't I?" Giggling, Angela watched Jordan's facial expression change from disgust to relieve.

"Oh God, for a moment I thought…"

"So… Tell me, what's up with you?"

For an instant, Angela's eyes were drawn into the deep blue pools glancing at her. Freeing her eyes from his intense stare laborious, she allowed them to travel further down over his body. When her eyes reached his firm looking belly, they lingered just above his belt, meanwhile swallowing away a lump in her throat.

Angela VO: "My hands are practically itching to unbuckle his belt, so I can still my arousal and find out if he's still got any feelings left for me at all. It serves him right for making me watch his erotic encounter with water, ha!"

"You know… still playing my music, still living in LA…Most of the time anyway. How 'bout you?"

"This is gonna sound incredible, but I took over my mother's business. But I'm expanding it big time, so... You know."

"Ha, that's ironic." Taking a sip from another water bottle, Jordan picked up his shirt before he continued. "Walk with me."

Angela VO: "I just can't stop staring at him. My eyes keep hovering just above his belt, wondering what kind of underwear he's wearing under those extremely low jeans. I can't imagine any men's underwear that low. Maybe he's not wearing any underwear at all…"

"Angela? You okay?" Jordan waved his hand in front of her face.

"What? Oh, I'm sorry, I was just… um… you know, thinking. So, Catalano, is there a Mrs Catalano in your life? I mean, besides your mother."

"Neah, no one special. You know how it is, being a musician. I'm like, always on the road. Anyone in your life?"

"Well, sort of, I guess. It's complicated, you know? There's this guy, Matthew, and we live together, or we used to, I'm not sure I guess." Angela tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "We're on a break now; I need to straighten out some things before I'm ready to commit to anyone."

"Sounds heavy."

"It's not, well, maybe. Anyway, I'm fine."

Arriving on a separate patch of grass, Angela hadn't even noticed the music and chattering sounds had diminished during their walk. Talking to Jordan made her forgot all about the surroundings. Looking around, there were tents and vans scattered all over the field ahead of her.

Opening up the door to a dingy eyeing tent, Jordan waited for Angela to walk in. "Home sweet home."

Sniffing up the moist scent from the heated atmosphere, Angela looked around. A couple of sleeping bags, instruments and crates covered the grass almost entirely. "So, this is where you bring your groupies."

"Now why would you say a thing like that?" While tossing his T-shirt aside, Jordan gave her a brash smile.

"Well, I'm here, aren't I?" The cavalier words contradicted the feelings cornering Angela. Countless butterflies clouded up her head and weakened her knees.

"You're not a groupie, Chase. But you're here alright." Locking his eyes onto hers a little too long, Jordan reached out his hand to stroke Angela's hair. "When did you… you know… colour your hair back again?"

"Not until after high school. I couldn't do it, I had trouble letting go." Angela's words didn't just relate to her hair; letting go of Jordan had been the hardest thing she'd ever had to do. God, she'd never managed to do it for real.

"Yeah, I know what you mean. Couldn't get rid of my old guitar, you know?" Jordan turned his head into a corner of the tent where his old guitar waited patiently to be played again.

"Play me a song, Jordan, you know, for old time's sake."

Angela VO: "Hold me in your arms like you do your guitar; play my strings gently and roughly until I sing it out to you, Jordan. God, what is *up* with me? I sound like a cheap romance novel! Is it the heat, the wine, or is it really just Jordan Catalano?"

Tucking some humid hairs behind his ears, Jordan picked up his guitar. He put one foot down on a trunk, while facing Angela. When the first chords rang through the air, Angela recognized the song immediately.

Angela VO: "After Jordan left for LA, I played the tape he made for me over and over again until it made me cry. I played the tape until it wouldn't be played anymore; unfortunately the years diminished it to an off-key, whining collection of sounds. But this instant, he's playing *my* song, he's playing 'Set Me Free'. He must know a million songs by now, yet he chooses to play *this* one. Why would he do that to me?"

Uncertain where to look; Angela's eyes dodged Jordan's for the duration of the song. Only flicking over briefly to watch him, she discovered he still closed his eyes a lot; like it still hurt to look at things.

After the last sounds had faded away, Jordan put his guitar aside and leaned his arm on his upper leg; staring at her intensely.

"Why…why on earth would you play this song?" Intimidated by Jordan's half-naked presence and his eyes boring deeply into hers, Angela felt trapped like a gladiator in an arena.

"No reason. Hey, come here." Jordan beckoned her.

"Why?" Angela's legs fluttered; equally to the butterflies in her stomach. Afraid she'd fall flat on her face if she tried to move, she chose to stay put instead.

"Just 'cause. Let me hug you, you know… For old time's sake."

Angela VO: "Oh, that is *low*, Jordan Catalano. Rubbing my own words in my face to use them at your advantage! He's definitely not the shy guy I knew anymore; a certain amount of arrogance and self-confidence have become a big part of him now. God, what does he like, want from me? I'm not ready to have him trample over my heart again!"

"Come and get it." Defying, Angela stared him down.

Circling in front of her like a wolf who was about to devour its prey, Jordan treaded up to her in all his gloriousness. Pressing his body tightly against hers, he wrapped his arms around her waist. He buried his face in her neck the way he had done many years ago. Unable to resist him, Angela embraced him back. Sniffing up the scent of fresh salty sweat, sunburn and sensuality that surrounded him sent her butterflies soaring, once again. It was more than she remembered, more than she dared to dream and especially more than she could stand.

Like the years hadn't kept them apart, Angela's hands started wandering his body. Exploring the muscles underneath the soft, but firm skin on his back; her hands trailed down until they reached the denim.

Nuzzling his nose in her neck, Jordan's lips brushed over her skin, leaving behind scorched traces. Climbing up her collarbone gently, his lips reached her jaw. Turning her face towards his, Angela's lips met his in a tender kiss.

Angela VO: "Tasting Jordan feels so good; it's like the thing that has been lacking from my life. It feels familiar but exciting, like coming home once again."

Backing out of their kiss, Jordan cupped Angela's face in his hands. His darkened eyes gazed into hers when he spoke to her hoarsely. "I want you."

Angela VO: "Jordan Catalano wants me! God, I dreamt about hearing those words from his mouth for years, I can't believe they're true. I want him even more, but what about Matthew? Can I do this to him? Will my life change for good if I let Jordan near again?"

"Jordan, I…" Biting her lower lip with restraint, Angela didn't know what to tell him.

"Come on Angela. You know you want this!"

Angela VO: "Is he serious? God, he sounds like a player, with all his well-chosen words. Am I nothing more than a groupie to him, a willing sex-slave? 'Cause I didn't wait for ten years to have him screw me and dump me, you know? I want him to love me, not just fuck me…"

"God, you can't even *begin* to imagine how badly I want you, but…"

"So? It's not high school anymore! What's the big deal?"

Pressing his body against Angela's, Jordan's lips continued their exploration in her neck. Lowering themselves via her collarbones, his lips and tongue flicked over her skin. Stopping at the neckline of her dress, his hands created access for his tongue to persevere.

Angela VO: "Jordan's right, we're not in high school anymore. I've waited ten long years to see him again, and now I'm being stuck-up about having sex with him. So what if I'll never see him again; at least we'll have this moment."

"Okay…"

Eyeing her predatory, Jordan pulled her near by her waist. Angela could feel his arousal grinding into her and it caused her insides to burn with desire. Matthew was the only guy she had had sex with besides Jordan, but she never quite got over the size of Jordan's sex. Eager to find out if her imagination had blown things out of proportion, she unbuckled the belt that kept her from it, and undid his fly.

Angela VO: "Oh…My…God! Jordan's not wearing any underwear, at all! I *knew* his jeans were too low! Who knew he'd be this wild when he grew up."

"Ooh, Jordan… That's…" Angela VO: "Sexy…"

"Yeah?" Flipping Angela in his arms so her back pressed against his chest, Jordan's fingers brushed along Angela's sides.

Feeling faint because of his proximity, Angela leaned into Jordan. She surrendered herself to his probing hands and closed her eyes to the sensation of the bulge pressing at her butt. Weaving his fingers through her hair; he undid her long locks from their up-do, causing it to cascade over her shoulders. His hands slipped behind the top of her dress, kneading her breasts until her nipples became two rock-hard peaks. Sighing, she swung her hands back to draw Jordan even closer. His lips skidded over her neck and shoulders, his tongue drew sensual circles. Sliding down her sides smoothly, his hands paused when they reached the hem of her dress.

Gliding up her legs teasingly slow, Jordan's fingers lifted up her dress slightly and lowered her thong stealthily. As Angela watched the tiny piece of fabric fall down onto her feet, it felt like the last barrier that kept her from surrendering to Jordan, had been shattered to pieces. The fumbling she heard right behind her made her assume he took of his jeans; but fear to break the spell by turning around, made her freeze to the spot.

"You want me?" The husky whisper coming from Jordan's lips, sent shivers down Angela's spine.

"Oh God, yes…"

Angela VO: "A lot has changed since high school. Jordan Catalano, the boy who avoided using too many words, has turned into some sort of dirty talker."

Taking off Angela's dress over her head and unhooking her bra, Jordan's eyes glad over her smooth back. Spinning her round to face him again, his darkened eyes travelled over her creamy, naked body. Kissing her gently at first, the kisses intensified rapidly. Crashing his body into hers, he guided her towards a sleeping bag lying on the floor. They kneeled, sat down and Jordan shifted his naked body so he was hovering over her. The tips of his humid hair brushed over her breasts like little feathers, causing her to shut her eyes. He pinned her hands to the floor, right above her head. Smothering her with his forceful kisses, he kept control of her by gripping her hands into his.

"Fuck… I can't believe this is for real."

Angela VO: "Wow, me neither! Ever since Jordan Catalano left, I've been living in this alternate universe, where I never stopped thinking about what it would be like if we got together again. But I never dared to dream it would be anything like this."

Not wanting to spoil the moment, Angela kept her remarks to herself. Though Jordan's dominance scared her a little -who knew what his plans for her were- it was also a great turn-on. She felt like wax in his hands already anyway, all she could do was yield to him.

His head travelled down her body to indulge his hot, wet lips and tongue by suckling her breasts. Encouraged by Angela's moans, Jordan kept teasing her until she wriggled underneath him. Releasing one of his hands from their firm grip on Angela's, his fingers trailed over her sweaty body. Carefully, his fingers slipped into her slick core, finding her most sensitive spot.

Weak from the sensual feelings seeping over her, Angela tried to release her hands from Jordan's grip anyway.

Turning his face to hers, Jordan granted her a grin. "You want me to let go?"

"I wanna touch you Jordan, please."

Angela VO: "If he wants me to beg, I'll beg. I'll grovel, I'll do what it takes; I don't care. As long as my hands can touch his perfect body, squeeze his tight butt and wrap themselves around his…"

Gradually freeing her, Jordan kept eyeing Angela with a hungry stare. Kneading her breasts with one hand, his other hand found the tiny knob amidst her legs again. Her whole body was bucking into his hand now, like riding a horse in gallop.

Wandering, Angela's hands eagerly unearthed Jordan's perfect body. The consuming feelings he awakened inside her caused her fingernails to sink into his skin; leaving behind a red pattern of passion merging with the wings covering his backside.

Her hand slithered down his body to try and still his throbbing sex by embracing it boldly, like Jordan himself had done with the microphone, earlier.

Angela VO: "Okay, so I remembered the size of his erection correctly, yikes! On top of that, Jordan's experience and self-confidence also take me back to feeling like a sixteen-year-old again. In every possible way, he's sweeping me off my feet! But God, I want him *so* bad it hurts…"

Arching her back so her pulsating centre collided into his erection, she couldn't stand the arousal anymore. She needed to feel him inside; it was the only way to clench her insatiable thirst for him.

"I need you, now." Drowned in ecstasy, Angela's eyes sought out Jordan's.

Grabbing something from his jeans pocket a little further ahead, Jordan made sure they had safe sex. While keeping his eyes locked onto hers, he nudged his sex at her wet and willing core. Sliding in easily, Angela pulled him closer by grasping his butt. Caused by Jordan's movements inside of her, she tilted her head back at the waves coursing through her body. With every thrust, the waves gushed through her like hot, boiling lava.

Moving together in harmony, the feelings inside of Angela built up until she couldn't control them anymore. Like a volcano erupting from her blistering core, streamers of hot lava soared throughout her entire body and made her groan out loudly. After that, a paralyzing feeling of intense bliss ran through her; her body still pulsating from the aftershocks. Flinging her eyes open when she reached her climax, she witnessed Jordan tossing his head back in his neck. Letting out an animalistic roar like the animal inside him had just conquered its victim; he slumped his body down onto hers, limb.

"Fuck…That was intense!" Sprawling down next to Angela again, Jordan rubbed his eyes.

Angela VO: "It's like all the feelings I had bottled inside for Jordan Catalano, came out this moment. I don't think I've ever had sex this intense before."

Not sure what to say, Angela shifted to her side to watch Jordan catching his breath. Resting her head into the palm of her hand, Angela's curiosity got the best of her. "So, what's up with the tattoo?"

"It's the symbol of the band. You know…spontaneous combustion; living things that burst into flames for no apparent reason."

"Oh yeah, cool. So, why'd you choose the angel wings to 'combust'?"

"I guess to show it makes no difference. Everything can, you know… combust."

"Oh, right. So, spontaneous combustion is just Death in another shape; making no distinction between bad or good, and rich or poor."

"Yeah, that's the idea."

Angela VO: "Okay, so I *knew* Jordan Catalano didn't choose angel wings because of me; that would have been really absurd, you know? We haven't seen each other in ten years! It's not like I would have him tattooed on any body part I guess. But part of me is kinda disappointed anyway. I was hoping, you know... that I'd made a difference to him."

"Come with me, Angela."

"What? Come with you where exactly?"

"On my tour, you know."

"Why would you want me to come with you?"

"You know, to finish what we started."

"What's that supposed to mean? I don't hear from you in ten years, and now you want me to come with you?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"You never called me, wrote me, mailed me or even visited me and now you expect me to come with you? God, everything is just so *simple* to you, isn't it?"

"Look, you know me. I'm not the verbal type. But I left you the plane ticket, remember?"

"You don't know how many times I wanted to… But I couldn't do it Jordan." Turning to lie on her back, Angela stared at the ceiling.

Angela VO: "In the back of my mind I never gave up on Jordan and me, I kept hoping. But I couldn't just go over there and see him, you know? Seeing him would have made me want to stay with him, like forever. Since that wasn't an option, I knew that saying goodbye to him again would rip my heart apart for good. So in a way, *not* seeing him was easier."

"Yeah, well…I always hoped you'd…show up, I guess." Jordan brushed a lock of hair from Angela's face.

"You think it was easy for me? God, I wanted to see you *so* badly it hurt, you know?"

"So why didn't you?"

"I couldn't. I was afraid of what might happen."

"Like what?"

"Like me not being able to leave you again, that's what."

"So?"

"So? I had a life back then, Jordan. I had family, friends and school. I was only sixteen!"

"Yeah, maybe you're right."

Angela VO: "God, if only Jordan knew how many times I wondered what would have happened if we… If I… My life was pathetic, miserable and lonely without him anyway. It wasn't worth living it, but I was too young and I didn't know what to do. After a while I got used to dealing with the pain, it became part of me somehow."

"We weren't meant to be, I guess, Catalano."

"What if we like, were?"

"What do you mean?"

"This, now. Look at us!"

"We're lying in a tent and we just had hot sex. That's not destiny, it's being horny."

Jordan grinned brashly. "Yeah well, that too, but um…"

"But what?"

"It's more, I can feel it. I never stopped feeling it."

Angela VO: "All these years I have been longing for Jordan and now it turns out he felt the same way. I can't believe this is happening, you know? My God, what am I supposed to do?"

"Me neither." Angela answered.

"So?"

"So what?"

"Come with me then!"

"I um, I don't know what to say."

"Say yes?"

Angela VO: "'Say yes', I've heard that one before. Matthew's awaiting my answer to that question as well. But Jordan Catalano, he's, you know, Jordan Catalano. Still somewhat challenged for words obviously, but damn, he's still the hottest and sweetest guy roaming the planet. And having sex is with him, is like… WOW."

"Look, you can't expect me to just answer you right away. I can't just pick up my bags and leave my life behind. I've got a business to run, and a boyfriend who deserves to know what's gonna happen, you know."

Angela VO: "That stupid business my grandpa set up, how important is that really? If anyone should be able to understand my choice, it would be my mother. She's the one who fired my dad because she knew he wasn't happy working over there. I guess in a way I'm not happy either. I could always leave it to Matthew, you know, as a consolation price of some sorts."

"Think about it, okay?"

"I will, I'll think about it."

"Don't keep me waiting too long, okay?"

"It's been ten years; a few more extra days won't hurt."

"Yeah, well…people don't wait around forever, you know?"

Angela VO: "After ten years I *still* know what Jordan's referring to. Rayanne told him that, when he wouldn't acknowledge our relationship at first. My life has always been drenched with thoughts and afterthoughts on Jordan Catalano. All my thoughts lead back to him; they go back and forth inside my head, back to the things we never said even. And now, Jordan's thoughts on me are out in the open and *I'm* the one hesitating."

"God, Jordan, this is *not* what I expected when I came down here today. If I had known how you felt…"

"Setting me free was wrong; I hope you know, 'cause I do."

Angela VO: "The years have changed Jordan for the best; he's still a man of few words, but at least he speaks his mind. He's saying all the things I ever wanted him to say to me, but they still sound too good to be true. Besides, reality-check; giving it all up for a musician's love, is it worth it?"

"You know, I should be angry with you for asking me to do this, after all this time. You could've, I don't know… talked to me sooner. Like, before I had built a life of my own and stuff."

"What life? You said you weren't sure about it! Don't blame that on me please."

"I um, I'm not. You really took me by surprise. You shocked me and you can't expect me to just say yes!"

Angela VO: "Jordan's right. *I'm* the one stuck here, not able to decide what to do, and when he comes along and offers me another way out of it, I back down and blame him for making things even harder. In a sense he *is* making things harder, because he's adding another option to the list of choices. All the well-meant advices, expectations and questions surrounding me, drown out my inner voice. What do *I* want?"

"Look, just think about it. We'll be here a couple more days; come and talk me, okay?"

"I will, I promise."

Angela VO: "I've dreamt about Jordan whisking me away from my miserable life ever since he left. Now he's shown up to make my dreams come true and I cling to my miserable, real life instead. God, why is it so hard to listen to my heart?"


With flustered cheeks, Angela ambled over to her friends. Trying to cover up her dishevelled state by fixing her hairdo, her eyes beamed out the reason of her scruffy appearance anyway. Dodging eye-contact with the group like a skittish animal, Angela sat down at the table.

Angela VO: "God, what just happened, is *so* unlike me! I'm sure my 'used' lips (as Rayanne would've called them), scraped face (from Jordan's stubbles) and the fact that I reek of sex are telling a tale on me. It's a good thing I'm not the one with the scratch -marks entwined with my back-tattoo though."

"So? How was he? What did you guys talk about?" Rickie patted Angela's hand to get her attention.

"He um… he was, you know, still Jordan…But more grown-up." Angela's face was glowing like a big, red balloon.

"Chase Face, what *really* happened?" Sharon studied Angela's appearance and facial expression like a mother who smelt trouble on her kid.

"What? What do you mean? We talked, you know." Leaning her chin on her hand, Angela's face got a dreamy expression.

"I know that face. It's your 'Ooh-Jordan-Catalano-is-so-wonderful!'-expression." Sharon narrowed her eyes.

"Well… he is, isn't he?"

Angela VO: "God, I *hate* it that Sharon can see right through me. It's like she knows how I feel about Jordan even before I do!"

"Damn right he is." Rickie winked at Angela.

"Come on Angela, don't lie to me! What happened just now?" Sharon rotated towards Angela.

"He um…He asked me to come with him."

"He *what*?" Sharon's mouth fell open and she gazed at Angela.

"You know, he wants me to go with him… touring."

Having followed the entire conversation without participating (like he never stopped living live safely through the lens of his camera), Brian finally chipped in. "You're not seriously considering that, are you? The guy left you ten years ago, you met him like, an hour ago, and now you're actually thinking about eloping with him?"

"For the record… I broke up with *him*, not the other way around. Besides, I never said I was eloping with him, I said he *asked* me."

"What will you do, Angela? You don't even know the guy anymore!" Sharon gushed the wine down her throat in one swallow.

"I told him I'd think about it."

Angela VO: "But really, what's left to think about? It wasn't a coincidence I bumped into him today. I like to think that fate steers you into a certain direction at times; that nothing ever happens without a reason, you know? The reason Jordan Catalano and I broke up ten years ago, is so we could be together ten years later. We wouldn't have had a future in the past; but this instant, the future has become the now. We're ready to embark on our future now, I guess."


"What's this, Angela?" Opening the door to their apartment, Matthew practically tripped over the packed boxes and suitcases in the hallway.

"I thought it was obvious." Angela leaned against the doorpost.

"So, I guess you're saying 'no' to my proposal." Matthew rubbed his forehead.

"I'm really sorry, Matthew. It's not you, it's me. I'm just not happy, I guess. I feel stuck."

"Well, I'm not surprised, you know, since you already needed a break from us. But I was really hoping we could get through this."

"Look, I'm really sorry, again. You can stay in the apartment if you like."

"Where will you go, Angela?"

"I'm staying with a friend."

Angela VO: "There's really no point in telling Matthew about Jordan Catalano, is there? He's probably hurt enough as it is."

"Oh, okay. What about the business then? I mean, it's probably for the best if I quit my job, right?"

"No, you can stay and work there. In fact, you're being promoted. I'm giving you my job, if you want it, of course. I'm not sure what I'm gonna do for a living yet, but I'll figure it out."

"I um… I don't know what to say, Angela. I'd trade it all in just to have you in my life, you know that, don't you?"

"Yeah, I do. And it's not that I don't love you, but it's like, I keep having this feeling there's gotta be more to life, you know? I've gotta find out what it is while I'm still young."

"God, I never thought…" Tears welled up in Matthew's eyes.

Angela VO: "God, it hurts to look at him, but this time not in romantic, poetic way."

Angela rushed over to comfort him because she was used to standing by his side to ease his pains, just like the way he had her back during all their years together.

Angela VO: "The boxes, cases and suitcases surrounding us, remind me of a similar night, over ten years ago. Matthew has to be feeling the same pain I did back then. Being confronted with a loved one packing up their life to leave without you, stings like hell. I can't help but feel that maybe I packed Matthew's heart somewhere in these boxes too, like Jordan once did with mine."

"Are you absolutely sure about this?" Matthew looked at Angela like he heard her wrong, maybe.

"I'm sure."

Angela VO: "Of course I'm not sure, you idiot! Am I really making the right decision here, by leaving all this behind? I don't even know what I'm trading it in for; living life from a tent you call 'home' isn't what I had in mind. Living life by travelling from festival to festival is *not* how I pictured my future. Maybe finally being together with Jordan Catalano will be disappointing; maybe living with him will be extremely difficult. But I have to give it a try; I've spent my years wondering what it would be like and now I've got the chance to experience it. I'd be a fool to let him slip away from me again."


Parking her loaded car near the park where the last reminders of the festivities were being removed, Angela ambled to the site where Jordan Catalano's tent was positioned a few days ago. The grass resembled a green patchwork blanket with yellow-brown rectangular shapes within it. Zigzagging over the patches; tire-tracks served as the stitches holding nature's blanket together. Hardly anyone was left; only a few people were packing the last items into their cars and vans.

Fearing she'd come too late, Angela looked around for a sign of Jordan. In the distance, she spotted a big, red car. Wandering up to the striking vehicle, she found out the car was a familiar looking American convertible.

Angela VO: "Is that 'Red', or are my eyes deceiving me? After all these years Jordan Catalano still remains true to his first car, that's nothing short of amazing."

Gaining the car's proximity, Angela had a flashback when she noticed Jordan leaning against it. Wedged between his fingers, a cigarette stub was smouldering.

Unable to stop a smile from curling up her mouth, Angela sighed with relieve. Stopping dead in front of Jordan, she scarcely suppressed the urge to kiss him. "You're still here."

"Yeah." Jordan took one last drag from his cigarette stub.

"And you've still got 'Red'!"

"Some 'Reds' are worth holding on to, you know?" Jordan locked his eyes onto hers and blew out tiny circles of smoke.

Angela's cheeks demonstrated a vibrant red. "Really?"

"You know damn well."

Jordan flicked the stub to the ground, grinding it into the grass. His eyes followed the movements of his foot when he asked her, "So, you came to talk to me?"

"Yeah, um… I wanted to tell you something." Angela's eyes darted to the floor like it would be easier that way.

"So tell me. I'm running late." Jordan's eyes looked up to Angela's; hope as well as fear settled over his features.

"I um, I'm coming with you, Jordan."

"Really?"

"You know damn well." Angela smirked at him and received a grin in return.

Like time needed to teach them what they already knew back in high school…

Jordan Catalano got hold of Angela's hand and they strode away together, connected forever.

The End